Ben Stambler - Child Psychotherapy Trainee and MSc PDP graduate

Can you remember what you wanted to do when you started your MSc? What did you have in mind?
I wanted to go on to train as a child and adolescent psychotherapist.

Did anything change during the course of the year/training?
I had a much clearer understanding of the post MSc training options and pathways.

What do you think was the greatest thing you took from your course at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families into your subsequent training/work?
Experiences of infant observation and toddler observation.

What did you first feel when the course/training finished? What were your plans?
I was excited to be done but it was sad to leave the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. I was entering a period of uncertainty as I gained experience in preparation to apply for the child and adolescent training at the BPF.

What were the 2 or 3 most important bits of advice you could give to someone wanting to go down a similar route?
Start analysis as soon as you can. Make the most of the lecturers and tutors at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families. Get advice from different people with different perspectives.

Anything you shouldn’t do?
The conversations you have in the garden room can be overheard by a lot of people; you might work with those people one day.

And what was your journey post MSc in terms of getting experience?
I worked at a private nursery that I was connected to by a fellow MSc alum. I then worked as a toddler assistant at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and on honorary contracts at a charitable therapy service and an NHS adolescent inpatient unit. I am now about to begin the child and adolescent psychotherapy training at the BPF.

What was the best thing about this? What was the hardest thing?
The best thing was the actual work. Toddler work of all shapes and sizes is rewarding. Adolescent work has been exciting and challenging. The hardest is uncertainty, and the bad news is that never goes away.

Once you started your training or academic programme, what would you say had changed in you?
I gradually learned to trust my own instincts both in what I might be observing and in my reaction to different approaches to thinking and working.

Why would you recommend this training/path?
It’s hard to recommend in an uncertain time with a lot of change, not all of it good, for psychotherapy and the requirements to prepare for the training are significant. But if you enjoyed the kind of psychodynamic approach to discussion found in the MSc seminars and want to take that further then it is worth the risk and effort.